08 31 2015
  10:49 am  
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The Wake of Vanport

Olives are amazing. First cultivated in the countries we now call Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan, they spread throughout the Mediterranean, becoming a symbol of wealth, plenty and peace. The poet Homer called olive oil "liquid gold." In the Bible, it is the olive branch that the dove brings to Noah to symbolize the end of the flood. And since pre-Christian times, olives have been used in sacred ceremonies – the oil was used to anoint believers, for example. It was used by athletes too before sporting events ...

Before May 2009, olive oil sold in Oregon could be labeled extra-virgin– even when it wasn't. That's because labeling standards in the United States do not conform to grading standards set by the International Olive Council. The difference matters. Not just because extra virgin olive oil is higher quality, low in acid and tastes best, but also because it contains an abundance of health promoting nutrients. It is the first press of the olive pulp, produced without using heat or chemical extraction.

Even a 100-year-old business has to branch out every now and again. The Soria family has been cultivating olives in Spain for even longer than that. But, when Wayne Branche married Marie Soria, they decided to launch a new brand to export their extra virgin olive oil to the United States and the Caribbean: Andalucian Girl ....

The Mediterranean region has given us many popular dishes including: Ratatouille  -- a medley of tomatoes, eggplant, onion, zukini and tomato, sometimes topped with cheese; Paella  – rice, simmered with onions, green beans and seafood or lentils or chicken; Greek salad -- tomato, cucumber, green pepper, black olives, red onion, flat leaf parsley and cubes of feta cheese with an olive oil and vinegar dressing flavored with oregano ...

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